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How to Seal Your Case

When deciding whether or not to seal your record, or a specific case, the first thing you may ask yourself is: what kind of criminal offenses stay on my record? Unfortunately, all criminal offenses stay on your record if you are convicted of them or if you plead guilty. However, for certain crimes, there is a separate process that you can go through to seal those off of your record.

What Should I Know First?

Before beginning the process of sealing your record, there are a couple things to be aware of. First, who do you petition? You would petition the district court. The civil action must be filed in the same county that the arrest or criminal records are filed in. It’s also important to know that for each arrest record you want sealed, a separate civil case has to be filed.

Another key point to note is that not anybody can have their record sealed. In order to do so, you must meet one of the following requirements:

If charges were never filed:

  • On top of criminal charges never being filed, you have completed a diversion agreement pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1.3-101
  • Although you have an arrest record, you weren’t charged in court. Additionally, the offense’s statute of limitations
    has run out; OR
  • Although you have an arrest record, you weren’t charged in court. Additionally, the offense’s statute of limitations has not run out, but you aren’t being investigated by law enforcement for commission of the offense any more.

For further information about specific statutes of limitations, you can see §16-5-401, C.R.S.

If charges were filed:

  • You were acquitted
  • The case was dismissed (including as part of a plea agreement)
  • A diversion agreement pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1.3-101 has been completed alongside a criminal case
  • A deferred judgment and sentence pursuant to § 18-1.3-102 has been completed alongside dismissed charges

For more detailed information, you can see the related form from the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Steps to Seal Your Case With No Charges Filed

These steps only apply to records/cases with no charges filed as a result. These are also brief steps, and you can find the proper form listed below. You should not try to seal your case with this information alone. 

This is the Colorado form you would use in this scenario: INSTRUCTIONS TO FILE A PETITION TO SEAL ARREST AND CRIMINAL RECORDS WHEN NO CHARGES FILED

Step One

The first step to sealing your record is to gather all important and relevant information, mainly your arrest and criminal records. There are a couple places you can find this information if you do not already have it:

  • Court Records
  • Municipal Court Records
  • Arrest/Police Records
  • Colorado State Criminal History
  • Immediate Access can be found at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation
    • The drawback of using the CBI is that you will be charged for each result you view

Step Two

The next step is to complete all the necessary forms. These include:

  • Petition to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges Filed (JDF 417)
  • Order Denying Petition to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges Filed (JDF 435)
  • Order to Seal Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges Filed (JDF 418).
  • Order and Notice of Hearing(Sealing of Arrest and Criminal Records When No Charges
    Filed) (JDF 419)

Step Three

After these first two steps, you can go ahead and file your case with the court. The fee for this is $224.00, and this covers the cost of filing one case. Each case is an additional $224.00.

Step Four

After you have filed, the court will review the documents, and they can decide three different things:

  • You will have a hearing
  • You won’t have a hearing, and the petition is denied, OR
  • You won’t have a hearing, and the petition is granted

No matter what, you will hear back from the court.

Step Five

If you have a hearing, the next step is to prepare for it. Make sure you know answers to questions like: what is your reason for wanting your case sealed?

Step Six

If your petition is granted and your record is sealed, you must notify all necessary agencies including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. It is crucial you do this step, or else the record will not be sealed. However, District and County Courts do not need to be notified.

Steps to Seal Your Case With a Criminal/Arrest Record

These steps only apply to records/cases with charges filed as a result. These are also brief steps, and you can find the proper form listed below. You should not try to seal your case with this information alone.

This is the Colorado form you would use in this scenario: INSTRUCTIONS TO FILE A MOTION TO SEAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE RECORDS PURSUANT TO § 24-72-705, C.R.S. (SIMPLIFIED PROCESS) 

Step One

The first step to sealing your is to complete all the necessary forms. These include:

  • Motion to Seal Criminal Justice Records Pursuant to § 24-72-705, C.R.S. (JDF 477)
  • Order Denying Motion to Seal Criminal Justice Records Pursuant to § 24-72-705, C.R.S. (JDF 492)
  • Order to Seal Criminal Justice Records Pursuant to § 24-72-705, C.R.S. (JDF 478)
  • Order and Notice of Hearing on Sealing Criminal Justice Records Pursuant to § 24-72-705, C.R.S.
    (JDF 493)

The rest of the steps are the same as sealing your case with no charges filed. So, we will briefly touch on these again, but you can find them above as steps three, four, five, and six. 

Step Two

The second step is to file your case with the court, which will be accompanied by a $224.00 fee for each case you file.

Step Three

After this is done, the court will review the documents, and come to a decision regarding the possibility of a hearing.

Step Four

If the court decides to hold a hearing, you will need to prepare for it.

Step Five

If your petition is granted and your record is sealed, you must notify all necessary agencies including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. It is crucial you do this step, or else the record will not be sealed. However, District and County Courts do not need to be notified.

Overall

All in all, sealing your case can be complex. Although all criminal offenses stay on your record, having the ability to seal your record is a great opportunity, especially if you have moved on from your case and are ready to start fresh.

If the task of sealing your case alone seems daunting, consult an attorney to ensure the process is done correctly. Here at the Colorado Lawyer Team, we do help clients seal their cases.

Need Legal Help?

Looking for legal representation? Not sure if hiring an attorney is the right thing for you? Consider reaching out to our attorneys here at the Colorado Lawyer Team for a free 30-minute consultation. With specialties in family law and criminal law, our experienced, dedicated, and hard-working attorneys may just be the representation you need! Find more information at https://CoLawTeam.com or call 970.670.0378.

Interested in learning more about the law? Check out some of our previous blog posts like Economic Stressors and Divorce and Domestic Violence Cases and Child Custody.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and the Colorado Lawyer Team, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.